No Gain Without Pain? Discursive Representation of Foreign Domestic Helpers in Online Discourse

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


As a major global workforce, foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) have been a popular subject for interdisciplinary research. Whereas extant studies have highlighted the FDH perspective through their own narratives, the employer perspective remains less explored. This talk focuses on the narratives that Hong Kong employers constructed around FDHs in an online context. More specifically, I discuss how employers discursively portrayed FDHs both positively and negatively, as well as how the employers self-represented online. I argue that although some interlocutors attempted to commend their FDHs, they also emphasised their own perceived superiority by portraying themselves as gastronomic experts and benefactors, thus developing an ideological ambivalence towards FDH efforts. Another dimension of the ideological paradox concerns the discursive conflict between their high expectations of the FDHs and their underlying belief that domestic work neither requires skills nor deserves high pay.
Period26 Apr 2021